Since there are so many previous reviews of this book, I doubt anyone will see this one. Still, I just had to say how much I enjoyed the story. Everyone knows the two men did eventually meet in the heart of Africa, but the story leading up to and after their meeting was just awesome. The explorations of both men were as riveting as any I've read to date, and what happened to all the key players after the meeting was excellent history. This is a great narrative history. Well (very well) done! Here! Here!
I only knew of Martin Dugard as the co-author of the "Killing" books written with Bill O'Reilly, and did not know that Martin Dugard was a highly regarded author in his own right.
When I came across Into Africa I was intrigued by the story and also by the sample narration I listened to. Knowing really nothing of the true story behind the famous quotation; "Dr. Livingstone, I presume ?" I wanted to learn more used a credit for the audiobook.
Into Africa was easily my favorite non-fiction audio book of all I listened to in 2013. Supported by John Lee's wonderful narration this audiobook is equal parts a biography of the explorers Stanley and Livingstone as well as a story of exploration and survival.
Having been to Africa four times on safari I simply can not imagine setting off on a quest that would take me half-way across a vast and dangerous continent completely devoid of roads and with no methods of reliable communication.
Nevertheless, this is exactly what Livingstone did in his bid to locate the source of the river Nile. The story of how Stanley and Livingstone would ultimately meet equals any real life adventure I have ever read. As an audiobook the story of their lives and adventures come to life. I highly recommend it.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Dougard has done an excellent job of going beyond the mythology of the now famous catch phrase "Dr. Livingstone I presume" to place the meeting in its proper context. From the opening of the book, providing the back story of Nile exploration by Burton and Speke, to the politics of the Royal Geographic Society and the Anglo-American newspaper rivalries, Stanley's search for Livingstone is shown to be more than just a walk through the jungle to find a missing man. Both of the primary characters are fleshed out sufficiently to see that neither was purely hero or saint, making the story both more believable and more interesting. The sheer physical effort it took both men to accomplish their respective journeys is astounding. The horrors of the slave trade and casual racism of the time can be difficult to read about, but is essential to understand the push for empire building in the 19th century. And in our own era of instant communication it is almost incomprehensible to realize the length of time - usually measured in months, perhaps years - for a simple letter to reach England. No wonder Livingstone's whereabouts were in question for so long.
I enjoyed this book for what I learned about the Stanley-Livingstone history and the insights into the global context. I think a little tighter editing of detailed back-stories on largely peripheral characters would have kept things moving along better, but it's a small complaint, and overall I recommend this book for those who are interested in this type of historical adventure.
I did not read the printed version however I enjoyed the audio version very much.
I enjoyed the realism the reader placed into the story with his voice.
Naturally, when Stanley meet Livingston.
This book brings to life the realism's of the day and age of exploration in the 19th century. I never realized until now the hardships the people endured on the continent of Africa during those times. This book brings those real truths to life and to my attention that these men and women who ventured into the darkest continent were a very tough, determined and somewhat a naïve breed. Also this book explores the advent of slavery with the Arab world taking the lead in placing the black man in chains to be used to whatever means was necessary to ensure their prosperity.
Sympathy for devil. The hunt for the source of the Amazon was so difficult you wonder why anyone was willing to risk it. Without that insatiable curiosity, we wouldn't have the glimpse of a continent during a vastly different time. Why was it so dangerous? Why did so many view them as savages? The natives killed outsiders because often those outsiders were slavers. The interplay between the slave trade and the explorers was fascinating.
I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but do like the occasional history or travel memoir. This is an extraordinary combination of both. Dugard does a great job of piecing together the various stories of several explorers and how they all led to that one famous moment when Stanley meets Livingstone.
Instead of a story just tracing a long walk around Africa, he sets in all in context of what was happening on the world stage and helps the reader understand how explorers and scientists were part of the glitterati of the era, and how that drove the effort to find Livingstone and find him first.
Since the eventual Stanley-Livingstone meeting is famous, we all know what happens. Dugard pulls off quite a trick by keeping you on the edge of your seat wanting more until that fateful moment.
Dugard is frank about the lives and realities of these men, both in their native countries and in Africa. He doesn't try to gloss over the truth, as has been done in earlier eras for more Victorian sensibilities, rather he gives a more complete picture including all their foibles.
One reviewer felt that Dugard did not do enough to criticize the racism, slavery and imbalance that were so common in Africa at the time, but there is, in fact, quite a lot about the different ways that Livingstone and other explorers treated local residents, the Arab slave traders, and how desperate Livingstone had to be before he would accept assistance from the slavers.
John Lee's performance was solid and I'll look for other work of his. Kept the drama going, and did okay with various accents.
Non fiction- science, history,biography,80% classics 10% other fiction 5% misfits 5%
A real standout gem from the gobs of mediocre fare. I was utterly captivated! Perfectly narrated and matched to the book. If you liked this read- river of doubt- another stunner!
This is one of those books that could have gone on another 10 hours and still have been riveting. A pure gem, Into Africa reads like a suspenseful mystery novel, thanks to brilliant research and writing by author Martin Dugard and the masterful reading by narrator John Lee, whose voice and interpretation was perfect for this work. For anyone who knows nothing about these two historically intertwined figures, as I was, this book will be a surprising treat. Not only does Dugard put the reader right alongside the colliding characters of Henry Morton Stanley and David Livingstone in the depths of Africa, he also paints a vivid picture of the slave trade and colonialism in the mid to late 1800's. This book, and its narration, is a work of art and entertaining from the first page to the last.
What I expected was more about the life of David Livingstone and his missionary service in Africa, with the addition of characters like Henry Stanley and others.
What I got instead was really more about Henry Stanley and his journey into Africa to find David Livingstone.
The narrator was very good and would often switch between accents for each character in the story, based on thier nationality.
What I didn't like about the story was the graphic sexual detail of various characters lives, including homosexuality. To me this add very little to the story and almost turned me off from listen after the first two hours.
Fortunately there is much more to this story. Once the story really got going the author kept me in suspense about what would happen to David Livingstone and how he would be found. Much of the story was about the difficult journey that these early adventures had with dangerous animals, disease and sickness, slave trade and dangerous tribes. The second part of the story was very exiting especially as Henry Stanley got close to David Livingstone.
The historical background of the declining British empire and the rising United States added more greatly to the compling nature of the story.
This story is based on recent information found (2002), concerning the life and travels of Henry Stanley.
One of those books that makes you feel that are you are in another century and place. A good listen.